Dairy-Free Salted Caramel Apple Nachos

One of the best combos around is apple and caramel and you can’t help but notice those ginormous dipped apples when you go in a store like Wal-mart at this time of year. You know the ones, covered in every sugary things known to man–M&M’s, Oreos, sprinkles, candy corn, gummy bears, three different kinds of chocolate, etc, etc–yeah, those.

The candy is bad enough but the caramel isn’t much better. Let’s take a peak at the ingredients…high fructose corn syrup, milk, sugar, butter, artificial flavors, palm oil and of course tons of preservatives. So essentially it’s crap. But thankfully there are some great alternatives to get your caramel+apple fix and this recipe in my opinion is better than any huge, sugar covered apple you could buy.

The salted caramel sauce has the perfect amount of salt to offset the sweet of the caramel and chocolate and I love the little bites of chocolate chips and pecans sprinkled over all of it. The best part of course is that it’s totally dairy and refined sugar FREE.

It truly is a perfect, healthy fall dessert!

Dairy-Free Salted Caramel Apple Nachos
Author: 
 
Ingredients
5-Minute Salted Caramel Sauce
  • ½ c. Agave
  • ½ c. Unsalted Roasted Almond Butter
  • ⅓ c. Coconut Oil
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ t. plus ⅛ t. Sea Salt
Apple Nachos
  • 3 Fuji Apples, cut into 30 thin slices each (toss with a bit of lemon juice to keep from browning)
  • ½ recipe 5-Minute Salted Caramel Sauce
  • ⅓ c. Lily's Dark Chocolate Baking Chips, melted
  • ¼ c. Lily's Dark Chocolate Baking Chips, for topping
  • ½ c. Toasted, Chopped Pecans, for topping
Instructions
For the 5-Minute Salted Caramel Sauce
  1. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan. Whisk together over medium-low heat until all ingredients are melted together, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
For the Caramel Apple Nachos
  1. Arrange apple slices in a circular pattern on a large plate.
  2. Drizzle with caramel sauce and melted chocolate.
  3. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and pecans.

 

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Fudge Dip

Full disclosure–this is actually a hummus recipe. Yes, that’s right dessert hummus is a thing and it has been for awhile. I’ve done a couple of variations like this Chocolate Hummus and this Pumpkin Spice Dessert Dip but this latest peanut butter and chocolate mix my be the best one yet!

This stuff is MAJORLY delicious and quite healthy! Don’t you just love when those two things get together?! I do.

Plenty of good stuff in this like protein and fiber from the chickpeas and peanut butter and lots of healthy fats! Think school lunchbox…great with apples, spelt pretzels, graham crackers, strawberries or wrapped up in a whole grain tortilla! Also good on pancakes, waffles, bagels….endless uses! Did I mention you only need a blender?! Yay!

And as always 100% vegan/plantbased and no refined sugar. 🙂

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Fudge Dip
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 15 oz. Can/2 c. Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ c. plus 3 T. Natural Peanut Butter (no added oil, sugar, salt, etc)
  • ½ c. Agave (or sweetener of choice and less if you don't want it as sweet)
  • ½ t. Sea Salt
  • 6 T. Plain, Unsweetened Cashew Milk (or almond, coconut, etc)
  • ½-3/4 c. Lily's Dark Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients except chocolate chips in a high speed blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy.
  2. Stir in chocolate chips and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Serve with fruit, pretzels, cookies, pancakes, waffles, etc.

 

 

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Gluten-Free Chickpea Blondies with Dark Chocolate Chips

 

 

 

I haven’t made this recipe for a little over a year. And there is a very good reason…I can’t NOT eat these.

Self-control practically goes out the window when I make these bars and a year ago I was making them WAY too often and enjoying WAY too many.  One of the problems is that everyone else around me loved them too so I had no excuse NOT to make them for every and any social function. And even worse I never would give out the recipe because there was that tiny little recipe hoarder voice in my head that said “these are good…like, really, really, REALLY good and one day you may went to sell them in your amazing vegan bakery so do not, I repeat DO NOT give away the recipe”.

I listened to that voice for a long time but over the past year I’ve realized that sharing is caring and who am I kidding, I’m not getting up at 3 in the morning, every morning, for the rest of my life to bake and sell anything!

So, I was really excited to make these again not only to eat but also for the blog! They are so stinking easy because you basically put everything in a high powered blender and blend! And of course they are vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, no oil and no eggs! Does it get much better?! Don’t be put off by the chickpeas–they make these bars SO creamy and moist it’s unbelievable. And they cut way down on the fat and calories while adding a good amount of protein and fiber!

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Flourless Chickpea Blondies with Dark Chocolate Chunks
 
Ingredients
  • 2, 15 oz. Cans Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ⅓ c. Aquafaba (chickpea liquid)
  • 1 c. Unsalted Almond Butter
  • ⅔ c. Agave
  • ⅓ c. Xylitol
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ c. Almond Flour
  • 1 t. Sea Salt
  • ½ t. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • ¾ c. Lily's Chocolate Chips (or other vegan/refined sugar free brand of choice)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8x8 or 9x9 pan with non-stick coconut oil cooking spray.
  2. In a high-powered blender add all ingredients except the chocolate chips.
  3. Blend on high until mixture is completely creamy and smooth. You may have to stop and scrape down the mixture several times to make sure you get all the chickpeas blended in.
  4. Spread into prepared pan and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the mixture.
  5. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.
Notes
Makes 18 bars.

 

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Vintage Race Car 3rd Birthday Party!

 

There was no wondering what the theme would be this year for Eli’s 3rd birthday party–CARS! He is obsessed, particularly with the Cars cars…Lightening McQueen, Bobby Swift…the whole gang. But I wasn’t really down with having a Cars birthday party or even Hotwheels–not my style at all. But after a little Pinterest time,  I stumbled across the vintage race car theme and LOVED it.

I went simple (at least for me) and did a couple of banners for decor, car cake, chocolate dipped pretzel rods that were “dip sticks” and mini chocolate doughnuts that were our “spare tires”. I actually loved how this one turned out and I’m finding that simple can be a lot better sometimes!

Here are some pics from the day…

Dipsticks! (aka chocolate dipped pretzel rods)

 

Spare Tires…

The Vintage Race Car Cake…

Some more of the decor…

And last but not least the birthday boy playing lawn games with his cousins. This must have been a good shot. 😉

Check out the link below for more party inspiration!

Alphabet 2nd Birthday Party!

 

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Alphabet 2nd Birthday Party!

Believe it or not, I have ANOTHER kid…who I’ve never blogged about. 😀 Until now! I’m still in the process of digging up his first birthday pics but in the meantime we’re just gonna skip ahead to his SECOND birthday.

We did an alphabet theme for this one because the child knew his alphabet forwards and backwards way before he turned two. And boy themes are TOUGH…farm animals, cars, jungle, cartoon/tv shows…ugh. Not my style so much but the alphabet theme turned out cute! Here are a few pics from our fun day…

It was a fun party with beautiful weather and awesome friends! And a certain two year old ate WAY too many chocolate letters off of the chocolate chip cookie bars while mom wasn’t looking but hey, it was his birthday and c’mon chocolate is just GOOD. 😉  We love you E!

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Kitty Cat 4th Birthday Party!

Since birthday parties are rolling around again, I thought I’d finally get around to posting LAST year’s birthday party pictures. I’m so on top of it! Avery decided on a Kitty Cat theme which was super fun to come up with all the decor and treats for. All the little desserts were made by me except the AWESOME cat cake. Goodies included chocolate cherry mice, feline faces, cat claws, meow mix and hair balls!

We had such a fun time! Hope you enjoy the pics!

P.S. If you want to see past birthdays here is her Rainbow Sprinkles and Confetti FIRST Birthday Party, Ice Cream Shoppe 2nd Birthday Party and Sparkle Princess 3rd Birthday Party!

The table!

The birthday girl in her black kitty cat dress with her bestie!

 

More friends!

 

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Pumpkin and Dark Chocolate Energy Bites

It’s fall which of course means pumpkin EVERYTHING. And I love it! Pumpkin has so many great uses in baking, especially when it comes to baking something HEALTHY. Sadly, I don’t have many healthy pumpkin recipes up to this point on my blog, but I do love this Pumpkin Spice Dessert Dip and just made these Fudgy Butternut Squash Brownies with PUMPKIN instead of the butternut squash and they were amazing!

So, I’m excited to add these Pumpkin and Dark Chocolate Energy Bites to the mix. These little gems are so tasty and so very good for you! I don’t mind giving these to my kids for breakfast one bit. They’ve got fiber, protein, good fats and some great nutrients! Oh and the best part…DARK CHOCOLATE. 😀

They only take a few minutes to whip up–give ’em a try!

Pumpkin and Dark Chocolate Energy Bites
Author: 
Category: Dessert
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Oats
  • 1, 15 oz. Can Pumpkin Puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling (prefer organic)
  • ¾ c. Roasted Almond Butter (no salt, oil added...just roasted almonds)
  • ½ c. plus 2 T. Agave
  • ½ t. Cinnamon
  • ½ t. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 6 T. Ground Flaxseeds
  • ¼ c. Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1 c. Raw Sunflower Seeds, toasted
  • ¾ c. Chocolate Dreams Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together oats, pumpkin puree, almond butter, agave, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, ground flaxseed and shredded coconut until well combined.
  2. Stir in sunflower seeds and dark chocolate chips.
  3. Roll into balls of about 1½″ in diameter.
  4. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment or foil and place in the freezer for one hour. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Notes
Makes 45.

 

 

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Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies

Ok, so the title of this recipe would sound a LOT better if I had been able to use PUMPKIN* in these brownies instead of butternut squash but guess what? The store was out of canned pumpkin when I went! I’m really hoping this isn’t another one of those pumpkin shortage years but I’m getting a little nervous to be honest.

Nevertheless, I pressed on and substituted the canned butternut squash for the pumpkin in this recipe because let’s face it…they taste exactly the same! But people looooooove pumpkin. You don’t see a butternut squash spice latte at Starbucks do you? NO. Butternut squash scented candles? NO. It’s pumpkin…all. pumpkin.

However, I’m pleased to report that the butternut squash totally worked in this recipe and these brownies turned out AWESOME. The center was definitely more fudgy than the outer edges and to me they were slightly more cake-like (which is not a bad thing at all). But they were seriously to die for and I’ll just confess…we polished the pan off in probably 2 1/2 days. So proud!

These were also some of the easiest brownies I’ve made which is a huge bonus. Not to mention, dairy and refined sugar free! Feel free to use pumpkin or even sweet potato in these, instead of the butternut squash, because they’ll turn out fabulous no matter what.

For more healthy brownie inspiration, check out my Gluten-Free Brownies and Lightened Up Gluten-Free Brownies! 

*Updated recipe to reflect that I tried pumpkin in them and prefer them that way.

Fudgy Pumpkin Brownies
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 15 oz. (1⅓ c.) Can Organic Pumpkin Puree butternut squash and sweet potato also work)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ c. Almond Butter (no added oil, salt, etc)
  • ¼ c. Agave
  • ½ c. plus 1 T. Organic Sprouted Spelt Flour (or whole wheat, white whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, etc.)
  • 2¼ t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Sea Salt
  • ½ c. plus 1 T. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 c. Sucanat
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325. Spray a 9x9 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together pumpkin puree, almond butter, vanilla and agave until smooth.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and beat on low speed until everything is incorporated and batter is smooth.
  5. Pour batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 25-28 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
Makes about 16 brownies.

 

 

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Avery’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie

I created this chocolate chip recipe for my daughter awhile ago and had completely forgot about it until recently when the ONE and only friend I had shared it with (I’m a recipe hoarder…I can’t help it!), said she had made them with her kids. So of course I immediately dug it out and got to work on making some.

I had actually forgot how GOOD these cookies are and why I gave them the title of Avery’s “favorite”….because they are addictive and you seriously can NOT eat just one! They’re soft, chewy and have a perfectly rich, buttery, slightly sweet flavor with ZERO butter or refined sugar and to top it off they are vegan with a little help from aquafaba (check out my first time using it here!)! Win-win-win!

I’m completely ashamed to say that are little family of four polished off all 16 of these in about 3 days! Thankfully they are “healthy” as cookies go and will be an every now and then treat from now on! As they should be. 😉

Avery's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c. Palm Oil Shortening (I used Nutiva which is a blend of palm oils and coconut oil)
  • ⅓ c. plus 1 T. Xylitol
  • ⅓ c. plus 1 T. Agave
  • 3 T. Aquafaba (chia/flax egg or normal egg would work also)
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1⅓ c. Sprouted Spelt Flour
  • ¼ c. Ground Flaxseed
  • ¾ t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Sea Salt
  • ¼ c. Thick Rolled Oats
  • ½ c. Chocolate Dream Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking pans with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the shortening, xylitol and agave on medium speed until light and fluffy. Turn mixer to low and add aquafaba and vanilla. Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a small bowl and slowly add to the wet ingredients until thoroughly incorporated. Mix in chocolate chips.
  3. Scoop dough into 1½" balls and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 7-9 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Allow to cool on pans for about 5 minutes and then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
Makes 16 cookies

 

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Dark Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cake

If you are looking for a super decadent, rich, absolutely DELICIOUS and most importantly HEALTHY chocolate cake–look no further! I can honestly say this is maybe the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had and I can only guess it has something to do with the crazy amount of avocado in it! Yes, avocado!

I just love avocado. Although you’d NEVER guess it was in this cake. All you’ll taste is chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! Oh and some strawberry. 😉 Avocado is so great for chocolate desserts, like this Chocolate Avocado Pudding and I’ve also seen chocolate frosting recipes that use it in place of butter although I have yet to try it myself! It really is the ultimate super food!

What makes this cake even better is the fact that it is totally dairy-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free! Enjoy a big ‘ole slice without any guilt!

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cake
Author: 
Category: Cake
 
Ingredients
Dark Chocolate Cake
  • 3 c. Chopped Avocado (4-5 large), pureed
  • ¾ c. Xylitol
  • ¾ c. Sucanat
  • ¼ c. Agave (optional)
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 3 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ½ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ c. Special Dark Cocoa Powder (or use another ½ cup regular)
  • ½ t. Sea Salt
  • 1 t. Espresso Powder
  • 2 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 c. Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chunks (optional)
Chocolate Whipped Cream
  • 1, 14.5 oz. Canned Full-Fat Coconut Cream, chilled in fridge (unopened) for at least 5-8 hours or overnight
  • 2-3 T. Refined Coconut Oil, softened
  • Pinch Sea Salt
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 t. Cocoa Powder
  • 2 T. Agave
  • 2 Packets Truvia (or use couple teaspoons of powdered stevia, etc)
Other
  • 1 c. Sliced Strawberries
  • ½ c. Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chunks, melted
Instructions
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two, round 9x9-inch pans with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed, beat the avocado puree, xylitol, sucanat and agave until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated.
  3. Beat in remaining ingredients (except chocolate chunks). Stir in dark chocolate chunks.
  4. Divide batter evenly between the two pans--it will be VERY thick. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Chocolate Whipped Cream
  1. Place the metal bowl and whisk of an electric mixer in the freezer for at least 30 minutes (if you don’t have an electric mixer, a bowl and whisk should work as well).
  2. Place the thick cream part of the chilled coconut milk (you can just discard the liquid if there is any or save for smoothies, etc) into the chilled electric mixer bowl and whisk the coconut milk, coconut oil, salt, vanilla, cocoa powder, agave and truvia on medium/high speed until fully combined and thick. Refrigerate or use immediately on cake.
To Assemble
  1. Remove chilled cakes from pans and peel away parchment paper. Put one cake on a large plate or cake stand. Spread ½ of the whipped on the first cake layer.
  2. Top with the second cake layer and spread with the remaining whipped Cream
  3. Place strawberry slices around the outer edge and drizzle with melted chocolate. Serve immediately or refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

 

 

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Chocolate Hummus

Surprise! It’s me. 🙂 Yep, I’m blogging again…a year later! I took a break to do a little something called bhsmealplans.com (ebook coming soon!) and while it was a great year of creating, testing and perfecting recipes, I’m ready to get back to blogging!

I decided to give the ‘ole blog a fresh new look (thanks to my super talented and creative hubby) and even a new direction…HEALTHY desserts! It’s my true passion and pretty much the only type of sweet anything that happens in this house most likely contains chia seeds, some kind of nut butter and agave. 😀 Whereas I used to never run out of butter, refined sugar and all-purpose flour, I don’t even keep those things stocked!

I’m super excited about the new direction for Desserted Planet and started to think about what recipe I’d debut my new-ish blog with but instead of agonizing FOREVER about the recipe I wanted to use, I decided to just do one that I make ALOT around here and my kids LOVE–Chocolate Hummus!

It’s super easy, great for dessert OR breakfast (yes we totally eat it for breakfast) and just good. Really, really good! So here you go, hope you try it and find it as incredibly yummy as we do!

Chocolate Hummus
Author: 
Category: Dessert
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 15 oz. Can Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 T. Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. All-Natural Almond Butter (I’ve also used cashew butter and it’s yummy)
  • ¼ c. plus 2 T. Unsweetened Cashew or Almond Milk
  • ¼ c. plus 2 T. Agave (or sweetener of choice)
  • ⅛ t. Cinnamon (use less or omit if you don’t care for cinnamon)
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips (for topping--optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Refrigerate until completely chilled, topped with mini chocolate chips and serve with strawberries, grapes, sliced bananas, sliced apples, whole grain graham crackers, etc.
Notes
Makes 10-12 servings.

 

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Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

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I honestly don’t need to say much about this recipe other than MAKE IT.  IMMEDIATELY.  For your own good and the good of all the people you love around you, make these cookies and share them with the world!  Yes, I love them that much.

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Once again, Sally of Sally’s Baking Addiction has nailed it with these Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies.  I will admit that at first I was skeptical about putting a Rolo in the middle.  Umm, there’s not much gourmet about a Rolo?  But once you put it in the middle of this super dark double chocolate cookie that is sprinkled with sea salt and it gets all melty and gooey inside…you forget it’s a Rolo and only know you can’t stop eating it!  These cookies are thick and soft and perfect.  Honestly, perfection.  Grab some milk and enjoy!

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, softenend to room temperature
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs, rom temperature
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1⅓ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • ¼ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 c. Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (or whatever dark chocolate chip you prefer)
  • 35 Rolos, unwrapped
  • Coarse Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add the sugars with the mixer on medium speed and cream together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to the wet ingredients. Slowly mix in the heavy whipping cream then the bittersweet chocolate chips. The dough will be thick and sticky. You can chill it for a few minutes at this point but I used mine immediately and had no issues with it.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. Form a 3-inch ball of dough in your hands and then flatten slightly and make an indentation in the middle. Place the Rolo in the indentation and wrap the rest of the cookies around the Rolo making sure to seal well and form into a slightly flattenened ball again. Repeat with the rest of the dough and remaining Rolos. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt before putting in the oven.
  5. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Cookies will appear undone and very soft. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Notes
Makes about 36 cookies. Store in an airtight container.

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Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

I almost forgot to post about this super simple and delicious ice cream I made about a month ago.  Thankfully (or not) it’s still in the 90’s around here so not to late to make this cool and refreshing treat!

Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream 2

My favorite ice cream recipe has always been my parents homemade vanilla ice cream.  It’s the no-cook kind made with loads of sugar, cream cheese and lots of other bad-for-you-but-oh-so-delicious ingredients.  However, I just recently discovered ice cream recipes made with tempered eggs and how seriously easy they are.  I love, love, love this Homemade Thin Mint Brownie Ice Cream.  It was the first one I ever made with egg yolks and honestly it was so smooth and creamy, more than a no-cook version.  The same could definitely be said for this Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream.  It’s totally rich with a deep chocolate flavor and hint of guinness beer.  In a bowl or cone or even in a Guinness float, it’s divine.

Enjoy!

Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
 
Ingredients
  • 7 oz Bittersweet Chocolate
  • 7 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 2 c. Whole Milk
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 8 Egg Yolks
  • 2 c. Heavy Cream
  • 1½ c. Guinness Stout
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Put the chocolate in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top.
  2. Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture in to the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer over the chocolate, then stir until the chocolate is melted. Once the mixture is smooth whisk in the cream, then the Guinness and vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.
  4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (AT LEAST 8 hour or overnight...very important, I tried mixing mine in my ice cream maker after 5 hours and it DID NOT work. Must chill at least 8 hours.), then churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions and place in freezer to firm up.

Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream 3

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German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

I had grand plans this past Thanksgiving of making pie, which is definitely one of my favorite desserts.  For me, it ranks up there with cheesecake, bread pudding and really good wedding cake.  However as the time drew near, I quickly realized how challenging it would be to make two or three pies with a seven month old demanding my attention.  Yeah, not happenin’.  Soooo, Plan B was these German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars.  And I must say, I am NOT sad that I had to make these instead!  Imagine pecan pie, loaded with coconut and bittersweet chocolate chunks, on top of a chocolatey crust, in bar form.  To. Die. For.  I can honestly say I’m glad I had to change things up because these were out of this world delicious!

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars 2

 

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars 3

Enjoy!

Original Recipe:  Southern Living Magazine

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 1¾ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ c. Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa
  • ¾ c. (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, cubed
Filling
  • 1 c. Dark Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 c. Light Corn Syrup
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3½ c. Pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 2 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I like Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet but you could also use semi-sweet, etc)
  • 2 c. Sweetened, Flaked Coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over the sides to use as "handles". Lightly grease foil.
For the Crust
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and cocoa powder. Add butter and crumble it with your fingers or a fork until it resembles a coarse meal. Press into the bottom of the 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
For the Filling
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and eggs. Stir in 1 cup of coconut and pecans and pour over the crust. Top with remaining cup of coconut.
  2. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and set (mine was still the slightest bit jiggly in the very middle and I was ok with that). Cool completely on a wire rack. Lift baked bars from pan using foil "handles" and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
Makes 20 bars.

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars 4

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Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

I know what you’re thinking….avocado pudding?!  Hear me out on this one though!  Believe it or not, avocados make a great base for a LOT of desserts.  My brother-in-law, who is from the Philippines, will not eat guacamole because where he is from they use avocados in sweet things, smoothies, etc. so using it in a savory way is weird to him.  When I heard that I thought it was so strange but it kind of makes sense, especially now that I’ve tried it in a sweet dessert.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding Close

Avocados are fairly neutral in flavor, can be blended until they’re super creamy and contain loads of nutrients and healthy fat!  And this pudding is absolutely delicious.  SUPER thick, creamy, chocolatey and not too sweet.  Honestly, I don’t think anyone would know the difference if you never told them it wasn’t “real” pudding.  They’d probably even like it better!  I know I do.  Oh and did I mention it literally takes minutes to make?  Put everything in your food processor and done!  Easy!

Enjoy!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Medium to Large Avocados
  • ½ c. Coconut Milk (or almond milk)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 6 T. Regular, Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 2 T. Dark Cocoa
  • 6 T. Agave (or honey)
Instructions
  1. Remove skin and pits from avocados and place in a food processor. Add remaining ingredients and blend for a few minutes until mixture is smooth and no green pieces remain. Scrape down the sides and blend for a few seconds more, until mixture is thick. Put pudding in a bowl or air-tight container and place in the fridge for at least one hour before serving.
Notes
Serves 3-4.

 

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Bakery Review: Elle’s Patisserie in Springfield, MO

Elle's Patisserie Outside

Elle's Patisserie Front Door

There’s a teeny little shop in our town that sells the most delicious treats.  And when I say delicious treats I’m talking legit truffles, ice cream and serious baked goods.  I had the pleasure of visiting Elle’s Patisserie a couple of weekends ago and was in love with the quaint little shop the moment we stepped inside.  From the cute purple exterior to the lovely little patio outside, everything about Elle’s is perfection.  The interior is relaxed and French inspired and tiny but the perfect size to display everything that comes out of the kitchen.

Elle's Patisserie Menus

Elle's Patisserie Menu

Elle's Patisserie Display Case

Elle's Patisserie Chairs

Elle's Patisserie Banner

Per usual, I wanted to try one of everything and was in a sort of daze just looking at all the truffles.  We sampled some ice cream (totally yummy) and then proceeded with the difficult task of deciding what we wanted to buy.  We finally narrowed it down to a piece of Chocolate Covered Bacon, a Salted Caramel Coffee Macaron, a Dark Ganache Truffle with Cocoa Nibs, a Peanut Butter Ball and a Peanut Butter Ganache Brownie.

Elle's Patisserie Ice Cream

Elle's Patisserie Macarons and Truffles

Elle's Patisserie Brownie

I won’t go into tons of detail about each one because they were all equally divine and if I wasn’t watching my girlish, post-pregnancy figure, I would have promptly bought one of each of everything else.  My favorite thing was probably the macaron.  Or maybe the dark ganache truffle.  Definitely a toss-up. Suffice it to say, Elle knows what she’s doing in the kitchen.

Elle's Patisserie Truffles

Elle's Patisserie Macaron

Elle's Patisserie Brownie and Treats

My only regret is that we didn’t get there a little earlier in the day.  By the time we arrived they were completely sold out of pastries.  Bummer!  But we’ll be back.  Elle’s is definitely a must-visit little chocolate shop so be sure and check them out if you are in Springfield, MO!

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Homemade Chocolate Candy Cups

Almond Chocolate Candy Cups

I am still on a healthy sweet kick around here!  Hope you guys don’t mind!  I have been craving chocolate like MAD lately but didn’t want all the refined sugar, dairy and other junk that comes in commercially produced chocolate.  And believe it or not, you can actually make chocolate HEALTHY.  Well, ok, I’m not sure it would be classified as a health food but it’s 1,000x’s better than what you’d buy at the store.

Chocolate Candy Cups

Pistachio Chocolate Candy Cup

Good fat from coconut oil and organic cocoa make these little gems possible.  Seriously, we love them.  Yes, hubby loves them too which is the true test of course!  I topped mine with coconut, raisins, pistachios, almonds and dried mango.  Next time I’m going to experiment with pure mint oil,  peanut butter and a few other variations I have running through my brain.  I can’t wait!

Coconut and Raisin Chocolate Candy Cups

Enjoy!

Original Recipe: Pepperplate

 

Homemade Chocolate Candy Cups
 
Ingredients
  • ⅔ c. Organic, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ⅔ c. Organic Coconut Oil
  • ⅓ c. Agave (or honey, etc)
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Toppings such as dried fruit, nuts, coconut, etc
Instructions
  1. Place mini muffin or candy cups on a cookie sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, melt coconut oil. Whisk in cocoa, agave and vanilla all at once. Spoon chocolate into muffin/candy cups and top with toppings of your choice. Place in freezer for 5-10 minutes until hardened. Store in refrigerator or freezer.
Notes
Makes 15, 1½" chocolate candy cups.

 

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Rocky Road Cake

Rocky Road Cake and Ice Cream

I wanted something dark, decadent and over-the-top chocolate for Easter Sunday dinner.  And this Rocky Road Cake TOTALLY fit the bill.  I know, I know…it’s springtime and desserts should be light and fruity.  But when is chocolate ever out of season?!  Yeah.  Never.  And judging by all the “mmmm’s” and “oh my gosh, this is so GOOD”s that I got, I think I picked the absolute perfect dessert to make.

Rocky Road Cake

I used dark unsweetened cocoa for both the cake and frosting (the recipe just called for regular unsweetened) and I loved how rich it made the cake but think next time I’ll use the regular cocoa for the frosting so it’s not quite so rich.  I also used homemade marshmallows instead of store-bought which I think makes it so good but feel free to use some from the store.  It’s definitely extra work to make you own marshmallows but SO worth it.  I was also really skeptical about the cake.  Just by reading the recipe it seemed way, waaaaaayyyy too simple to make.  However, this cake was delicious.  More like a cakey brownie, it was the perfect foundation for the gooey marshmallows and thick, fudgey frosting.

Are you sold yet??  This cake is GOOD.  So goooooooood.  Make it!  You’ll be glad you did.  Oh, and ice cream!  Ice cream is a must.  Enjoy!

Rocky Road Cake
 
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 4 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ c., plus 2 T. Dark Unsweetened Cocoa
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1, 10.5 oz. Bag Miniature Marshmallows or 2 c. Homemade Marshmallows
Frosting
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • ½ c. Dark Unsweetened Cocoa
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter
  • ½ c. Whole Milk
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Powdered Sugar
Instructions
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan.
  2. Whisk together melted butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Whisk in cocoa, salt, baking soda, baking powder and flour just until combined. Pour into pan and bake 25-30 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Sprinkle with marshmallows and pecans and return to the oven for 5 minutes to melt marshmallows slightly.
For the Frosting
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and beat in vanilla and powdered sugar with a wooden spoon. Continue beating with the spoon until frosting becomes glossy and holds shape. It will take about 15 minutes but if you place the pan in a bowl of ice, it will speed things up significantly. Pour over the cake before it gets too stiff and let it cool completely. Cut into squares and serve with ice cream, if desired.
Notes
Makes 24 pieces.

 

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Power Bars

Gluten-Free Chocolate PEanut Butter Protein Power Bars

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that Jeremy has been wanting me to come up with a homemade protein bar similar to a Cliff Bar or Larabar but of course cheaper and healthier.  I tried one that I actually REALLY liked and could hardly keep my hands out of (you CAN get too much of a good thing) but he wasn’t really a fan so I moved onto this recipe from The Balanced Platter shared by my cupcake partner in crime, Robyn over at Gluten Free Crazy.   And I can safely say we have a winner with this one!  Jeremy loves it, I love it and everyone is getting crazy amounts of protein!  It’s very chocolatey, very peanut buttery and soooooo yummy.  They’re very rich so I cut them into small squares and keep them in the freezer, although they’d probably be fine in the refrigerator also.  Great pick me up and healthy dessert option!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Power Bar

Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 16 Medjool Dates
  • 1 c. Raw, Organic Almonds
  • 1 c. Sunflower Seeds
  • ½ c. Cooked Quinoa (I had accidentally mixed my dry quinoa and couscous together so it was a mix of both which I really liked!)
  • ½ c. Thick Rolled Oats
  • ¼ c. Chia Seeds
  • 1¼ c. Chunky, Organic Peanut Butter (or smooth)
  • ¾ c. Agave
  • 1½ Scoops Chocolate Protein Powder
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 4 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x9 pan with foil, letting it hang over the edges creating "handles".
  2. In a food processor, chop the dates into very small pieces. Add the almonds and sunflower seeds and process until a meal has formed. Place in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the quinoa, oats and chia seeds to the food processor and process until a meal forms again. Add to the bowl of the electric mixer. Add the peanut butter, agave, protein powder, cocoa and vanilla to the bowl of the electric mixer and beat everything on low speed until it is well-blended and starts to clump together. Form into a ball and press evenly into the bottom of the 9x9 pan. Freeze for 1-2 hours until firm, lift out of the pan and place upside down on a cutting board. Peel away foil, turn bars over and cut into 1½" squares. Store in freezer.
Notes
Makes 20 bars.

 

 

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St. Patrick’s Day Inspiration!

Hey guys!  So I had what I thought would be a GREAT St. Patty’s Day-themed cookie recipe to share with you today but needless to say they didn’t quite meet my expectations when everything was said and done.  They weren’t horrible (actually pretty tasty!), but definitely not the prettiest cookie and not quite what I had in mind when I was making them.  And I’ve decided if I don’t absolutely LOVE the recipe and think it turned out how it should, I just don’t want to share it with you guys.  I want you to have the best!  So I’m gonna do a little more research on this cookie and figure out what went wrong and how I can get it to turn out like I want…in other words, PERFECT.  😉

In the meantime, I wanted to share some green-inspired, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day recipes from some of my favorite bloggers that I thought might get your wheels turning for the upcoming holiday festivities!  These foodies know their desserts and I’m confident you’ll find something delicious!

Enjoy!

Grasshopper Mint Chocolate Bark

 

Grasshopper Mint Chocolate Bark

Skinny Frozen Mint Chocolate Chip Pie

 

Skinny Frozen Mint Chocolate Pie

Green Velvet Cupcakes

 

Green Velvet Cupcakes

Chocolate Mint Whoopie Pies

 

Mint Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Grasshopper Brownie Bars

 

Grasshopper Brownie Bars

 

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